Last week, the Hastings Council issued its staff report on the resource consent application of Andy Coltart and Australia-based landowner Garth Paterson to intensively develop a 25 hectare property along the Tukituki (indeed, 8.5 hectares is the riverbed and river channel itself!), at one of the river’s most scenic and recreationally enjoyed locations.

[See previous BayBuzz post here on the proposal.]

Terrific news! The staff has recommended — courageously, in our view — that the application be denied … full stop.

Two principal reasons:

1) Staff concludes that the landscape and recreational values at Horseshoe Bend (about 5k up the river from the Red Bridge, along Kahuranaki Road) would be so adversely compromised by such intensive development that mitigation measures could not achieve the necessary protections required by the District Plan and the RMA.

2) Further, staff agues that granting this application would create a precedent conducive to additional, similar development along the Tukituki, which would run contrary to both existing and pending rural development policy for the District, which aims to protect the rural character and amenity of the Tukituki area.

[Here is the full report.]

As stated, this is terrific news for the Tuki. So far …

But now the staff recommendation goes before the Hastings Council Hearings Committee on Thursday, February 18th, where anything might happen.

The hearing is triggered by the efforts of adjacent landowner, Bruno Chambers, who filed a robust submission opposing the resource consent. Well done, Bruno!

I should note that this consent was processed by HDC under limited notification, which BayBuzz opposed. Ironic that the staff has decided that indeed the proposal affects a considerable stretch of the Tukituki, as well as recreational users … and consequently, one might infer, many additional parties after all!

The staff report, citing advice from the Regional Council, unfortunately was dismissive of potential issues surrounding water extraction (cumulative effects), wastewater management, and stormwater management. It would appear that the Regional Council takes a rather myopic view of the proposal, as opposed to stepping back and looking at the overall impact that consenting this project would have on development all along the Tuki.

One might hope that the Regional Council (our environmental protector) by now would have a bigger picture in mind when it comes to protecting HB rivers. But alas!

Fortunately the Hastings Council staff rose to the occasion this time, and provided the broader perspective on the Tuki the Regional folks lack.

Now we’ll see how Hastings Councillors on the Hearings Committee deal with the matter. Hopefully they’ll back the staff on this one.

If you possibly can, please attend the Hearings Committee session at 9:30am on Thursday the 18th at the Hastings Council Chambers. Let’s show our support for Bruno and the staff recommendation.

Tom Belford

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  1. Heartening to see HDC Planners protecting the special character of the Tukituki. Roger Wiffin should be applauded for his decisive report. Be great if this is the start of a process that sees a Tukituki valley 'long term development plan' and no longer subject to ad hoc opportunistic subdivision.

  2. I don't get it…how come Bruno can dot his side of the river with various huts and sheds and Andy's not allowed to bury a couple of houses in his Chestnut trees? There's a weird attitude to development down here…from some constant and predictable quarters…as if architecture in the landscape is a crime against nature. The tone of these righteous guardians of the 'unspoilt' has a bogus air of spiritual smugness about it that bothers me and i'd hope for a bit more generosity of vision. There's a hell of a lot of room up that big wide river…

  3. I presume Dick Frizzell is either misinformed or has a myopic view of development – ie he thinks any development is a good one. The development he refers to on the Tuki Tuki is on one of the most scenic, attractive spots of the river – widely used by kayakers, fisherman and swimmers. The development itself would have a massive impact on this part of the river. The earthworks alone are huge and would resculpture river terraces that have taken thousands of years to form. The river huts would be right on the edge of the river bank and would impact hugely on the river users. The council officer's report endorses this view and reccomended that the proposal be declined. This is not surprising given that the Coltart/ Paterson application is for a non complying activity. As well as the obvious adverse impacts on the river environment granting this application would set a serious precedent within the rural zone, with the creation of a 3 lot subdivision in a single period when the current Hastings District Council Plan allows for only one every 3 years. Or under the recently notified Plan Change 49, one every 5 years. Why should the rules be different for developers?

    As for the huts and sheds that dot my side of the river, these are service buildings including wool shed and hay barns and three houses on a farm of over 2000 acres, most of which have been here for more than 50 years. Andy is aming to cram his new buildings, which total three houses of up to 500 square metres plus the rennovated existing building, into an area of about sixty acres or less than forty if you exclude the riverbed, as well as fishing huts and a large two-storey barn. I don't get the comparison.

    I have seen a number of excellent landscape paintings of the Peak and around Cape Kidnapers that Dick Frizzell has done. These landscapes are all devoid of buildings and focus on special landscape features within Hawke's Bay.

    I believe I have been consistent in looking to preserve the outstanding natural areas of Hawke's Bay for generations to come. Fortunately my forebears had a vision and preserved Te Mata Peak in a trust park for the people of Hawke's Bay. Otherwise, no doubt, it would be just another hill (albeit a spectacular one) covered in buildings. Once these areas are compromised, they are gone forever.

    I put an offer to Garth Paterson, (the owner of Raratu) to convenant my side of the river around the Horseshoe Bend, against any future development in return for the downscaling of his development. I have recieved no response.

  4. "bury a couple of houses in his Chestnut trees" !! No wonder Dick Frizzell doesn't "get it"!

    The Hastings District plan quite deliberately sets out to protect at least SOME of the rural character and amenity value of the region's landscapes. The Tuki valley is a specially valued example. In turn, some people buy property there and abide by the development restrictions expressly to enjoy the ambiance they expect will be protected.

    But along comes Andy proposing to develop 16 usable hectares of riverside land (the rest is the river and riverbed itself) with an end result of four major residences, three "fishing huts" and various outbuildings. By any application of common sense, a property in this rural area with only 16 hectares shouldn't be allowed to be divided at all! But hey, Dick says, let's have different rules for Andy.

    And that's what I don't get.

  5. This is an issue that can never be fully resolved, which doesn't mean to say that we shouldn't keep trying. At one extreme there is the 'This is a nice natural scenic area. Let's keep it that way'. For those already there it's the drawbridge approach. At the other end of the spectrum there is the ' This is a pleasant area. Let's have more people live here and enjoy it', and run the risk of spoiling it for good.

    Argueably the most picturesque section of the Tukituki River is that between the Tamumu and Patangata Bridges. 20 years ago there were just 4 houses on the west side, all there to service farms, and on the east side none. Since that time about 10 have been added, and more pending, and on the east side one. A landscape strategy? What landscape strategy?

    Now Tom, I know that CHB, like Wairoa, is well outside the range of the BayBuzz Bee, but it is still Hawkes Bay. So why no objections here, or have I missed it?

    This raises the question; Is this debate driven by public interest or self interest?


    Ewan McGregor

  6. Public and private interests are always necessarily combined when the outcome of the personal drive means either preservation or degradation of the landscape for everyone. I don't live anywhere near the land in question, my only connection is that it used to belong to a relation of mine, my interest is unashamedly personal: I am sick and tired of the old boys' club wrecking the canvas of our beautiful Bay with their smug soulless creations.

    Dick perhaps you might find the Auckland population and Auckland attitude to development more to your taste; "down here" we have a weird desire to treasure that which nourishes us and not see it trampled neath the multiplying trotters of the money pig. Very strange you, as an artist, don't get it.

  7. I recently enjoyed the privilege of staying at Garth Paterson's new holiday house that has been the subject of the fuss written in the preceding "blogs".

    What a visionary Dick Frizzell has proven himself to be once again – he was obviously able to visualise what has now been realised by Mr Paterson and his contractor Mr Andy Coltart.

    A wonderful result for all involved and congratulations to the Local Council for not allowing a minority of troglodytes to ruin a wonderfully planned and thoroughly thought out conservation like development.


    Craig Wrench

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